Great British Bake Off: Amos is eliminated
The Great British Bake Off returned last night with 12 amateur bakers raring to show off their baking skills, but it was Alison Hammond who received all the praise.
Joining Paul Hollywood, Prue Leith, and Neil Fielding, This Morning presenter Alison returned to the bake-off tent, but this time as a presenter.
The first episode kicked off with cake week and saw 42-year-old civil engineering resource planner Dan, from Cheshire, awarded the star baker title.
However, it was deli and grocery manager Amos that was the first contestant to be eliminated from the new series, after failing to impress the judges with his final bake.
Many were thrilled to see Alison on the show and the mum-of-one was soon branded “joyous” and “a welcome” new ingredient on the Great British Bake Off.
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Alison was given rave reviews, including four stars from Leila Latif at The Guardian where she wrote: “Hammond’s sheer joy has reinvigorated this show.
“While some of the handshakes and soggy bottom shtick has been getting stale, season 14 has wisely injected the most lovable jolt of energy in the form of Alison Hammond, who replaces Matt Lucas to present alongside Noel Fielding.
“Hammond’s infectious cheeriness, which has melted everyone from Harrison Ford to Mariah Carey, is unparalleled.”
Anita Singh from the Telegraph also gave a four-star review and praised: “The joy is back and challenges have stopped being impossibly difficult – but Fielding’s quirks seem out of place next to Hammond’s warmth. She’s a good signing.
“The show had lost its way in the past couple of years. The joy had gone out of it, challenges were too hard, and moments of meanness were sneaking in. Change was needed, and Hammond is a lovely, sunny presence.
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“A little Alison goes a long way, but she’s deployed at just the right level here. The only problem is that, beside her, co-host Noel Fielding now looks creepy.
“What seemed quirky when paired with Matt Lucas, or even Sandi Toksvig, is just plain weird in this new context. He doesn’t supply any comedy, but merely wanders around being vaguely supportive and resembling an ungainly Chrissie Hynde.”
The Independent’s Michael Hogan’s four stars came from its “innuendoes and irresistible sense of fun, and new host Alison Hammond’s influence is already clear”.
He added: “Key to the tweaked recipe is new presenter Alison Hammond – a natural fit and immediate hit. Hammond replaces previous incumbent Matt Lucas, who was fine but too similar to his co-host Noel Fielding.
“Born within a year of each other, both were best known as the dafter half of comic double acts. And on Bake Off, their surreal skits became a distraction from the main action. Hammond is a ‘proper’ presenter, and right from the start, she puts the focus firmly back on the bakers.”
James Jackson of the Times commented: “Bake Off has discreetly gone back to basics after viewers slung doughnuts at it last year for becoming all a bit much.
“If 2022 was something of a cakus horribilis for the show, this opening episode showed a kindly, consciously warm-hearted tent. Matt Lucas? Long gone. Accidentally offensive cultural appropriation? None.
“Instead, Bake Off 3.0 got straight down to a gentle layer cake challenge with Lucas’s replacement Hammond bringing her force-10 warmth to bear on the 12 new baking hopefuls.
“Despite all the Hammond pre-hype, she wasn’t quite as dominant as one might have expected, the editors perhaps being judicious to bed her in with viewers.”
Emily Baker of iNews said Alison had brought “a stale format back to life”, whilst Digital Spy’s Janet A. Leigh added: “Her bubbly energy has an inviting-hug appeal that makes it easy to see why she was the perfect pick for a show where the contestants are placed in highly pressurised situations.”
Daily Mail’s Sean O’Grady pointed out how Hammond’s debut had also gone “down a treat with viewers”, with one person online describing her appointment as “a stroke of genius”.
Despite Alison’s raving reviews, the show suffered a slight dip in viewing figures compared to last year’s launch with figures getting to an average of 4.3 million viewers.
This year, figures peaked at 5 million viewers which was a 200,000 drop in viewers from last year.
A spokesperson for Channel 4 told The Standard: “Bake Off launched with a 5million peak audience and an average audience of 4.3 million.
“It was the most popular show in the slot with 29% of all viewers tuning in to see the new intake of bakers. The show was also a massive hit with young audiences with 48.7% of 16-34 year olds watching the show.
“It was up on share compared to the last series. We await the streaming figures.”
The Great British Bake Off continues on Tuesdays on Channel 4.
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